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updated: 1/19/2018 5:47 PM

Trump limo promotion fuels online controversy for Volo Auto Museum

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  • A photo of a young Donald Trump, taken in 1989 or 1990, accompanied a Facebook post about Volo Auto Museum's Presidents Day promotion. The limo will be on display, but the post stirred plenty of debate.

    A photo of a young Donald Trump, taken in 1989 or 1990, accompanied a Facebook post about Volo Auto Museum's Presidents Day promotion. The limo will be on display, but the post stirred plenty of debate.
    Courtesy of Volo Auto Museum

 
By Lisa Friedman Miner
lminer@dailyherald.com

The Volo Auto Museum has displayed its share of controversial cars -- including the Confederate flag-adorned General Lee from "The Dukes of Hazzard" and a Mercedes that once belonged to Adolf Hitler.

But none have drawn the kind of comments that accompanied a recent Facebook post about a Presidents Day promo involving Donald Trump's former limo, Museum Director Brian Grams said.

He estimated he deleted 50 to 75 comments filled with name-calling and "middle-finger emojis" before posting a plea for civility.

"It's on both sides. They're just downright nasty," Grams said Friday.

"Everything is off topic. You got the one side talking about Trump is doing great ... And you've got the other side who calls Trump ... racist and vulgar."

The Facebook post included a photo of Trump in the limousine, taken in 1989 or 1990, with a pitch for the Feb. 19 event: "This Presidents Day do something unique with the kids! See President Trump's former limousine. Each child will get two free souvenir postcards featuring the limo. Keep one postcard, write a letter to the president on the other one and we'll mail it to the White House."

Grams said the museum paid about $70,000 this summer for the dark blue car, one of two prototypes of a special Trump limo made by Cadillac.

"We have a collection of cars owned by the rich and famous," he said, "and Donald Trump is rich and famous."

Trump's limo isn't the Volo museum's first with ties to the White House. Grams said the collection has included Lyndon Johnson's limousine and a convertible once owned by John F. Kennedy.

Grams said the severity of the backlash that followed the post caught him by surprise. Even Hitler's 1936 Mercedes, displayed in the early 1980s, didn't draw that kind of response, he said. There was, however, a big difference, he said: "Social media didn't exist at that time."

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